Use “I” when communicating
Set an example for the teenager by expressing yourself properly. Use “I” to express what you have to say and encourage your teen to do the same to express their emotions. There are many ways and here are some suggestions:
|WHEN…||Describe the situation or what you are experiencing that is causing emotions. Be careful not to accuse |
|“When I’m asked to be home before 9:00 pm… “|
|I FEEL…||Talk about the emotion using “I”||“… I feel frustrated…”|
|BECAUSE…||Explain why you feel like that||“… because I have to go home before all my friends as if I was a child… “|
|I WOULD LIKE…||Specify what you want to do to feel better.||“I would like to be trusted more and allowed to come home an hour later.”|
Pitfalls to avoid
- Name calling (labelling or insulting): “You’re deaf” instead of “I feel like you’re not listening to me and that frustrates me.”
- Commanding or giving orders: “Shut up!” instead of ‘What you just said hurts me.”
- Questioning: “What are you doing with Mark?” instead of “I’m worried seeing you with someone who is always in trouble at school.”
- Accusing: “You’re always on my back” instead of “I don’t like it when you accuse me of something without taking the time to listen to my side of the story.”
- Being ironic: “I’m happy that you got here on time!” instead of “I get angry that you are late. Because of that, we haven’t started to work yet, and we are going to be late.”
Choose the best time to talk
It’s not always a good time to begin a discussion with your teenager, especially when it’s to raise a delicate subject. It is important to choose a quiet time where you can express how you feel in a climate favourable to communication and without distraction. For example, put your phone on “do not disturb,” and turn off the television or other electronic devices. You must also allow enough time for the discussion.
Taken from Comment favoriser l’expression des émotions de l’adolescent (How to encourage a teenager to express emotions), Fondation Jasmin Roy.